How to Help a Friend who is Suicidal?

1,444 Views Updated: 16 Sep 2017
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How to Help a Friend who is Suicidal?

Do you have a friend who is suffering from suicidal tendencies? Did you try to help them? Are you not sure how to help?

Helping a suicidal friend might get tricky considering the fragility of the matter. A suicidal tendency is said to be born out of some suppressed anxiousness that turns into depression.

We have come with a list of suicide prevention tips which can help you in identifying the signs of a suicidal friend and to help them come out of it.

How To Help Someone Who Is Suicidal? 

Having a friend who you believe is considering suicide should not be taken lightly. Being suicidal is a temporary state which serves as an answer to severe depression. As a friend, you can potentially save a life by paying attention to the warning signs of suicide and by making your friend feel supported and loved by you. They need to know that they have outside help when they need it. 

Recognize The Signs

If you think that your friend might be vulnerable to suicide, observe his or her behavioral patterns carefully. A tendency to suicide usually occurs due to some severe mental trauma or depression. Suicidal thoughts usually occur when:

#1. The person is preoccupied with frequent and obsessive dwelling on similar thoughts

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#2. He/she gives up all hopes and finds suicide as their last resort

#3. They start looking at life as a meaningless endeavor

#4. The person finds it difficult to concentrate because they feel that their brain is surrounded by some fog or mist.

While it is hard to decipher one’s thought process, you can always look for these suicidal signs. The suicidal thoughts are generally accompanied by various emotional changes which act as warning signs. Some of these signs are:

#1. Varied mood swings

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(Image Courtesy: Everyday Health)

#2. Feeling lonely even when in the middle of a crowd

#3. Persistent feelings of shame, guilt, self-hatred, worthlessness

#4. Feeling sad, tired, withdrawn, disinterested, anxious, angry or apathetic for long hours

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Look Out For Suicidal Thoughts & Feelings

A suicidal friend is sure to state the unexpected. Their statements usually echo the patterns of their suicidal thoughts and feelings. Few of the commonly used statements by suicidal people are:

#1. Life isn’t worth living

#2. You, my friend, would be better off without me

#3. Don’t worry; I won’t be around for long to deal with that

#4. You’ll feel sorry when I’m gone

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(Image Courtesy: MEL Magazine)

#5. I just can’t deal with everything, so what's the point?

#6. I won’t be a burden for too long

#7. There’s nothing I can do to change anything

#8. I’d be better off dead

#9. I don’t think there is any way out

#10. I should have never been born

Be Prepared For Sudden Mood Flips 

Many people who suffer suicidal depression often face sudden mood swings. They appear to feel better than they used to be. If you find someone seeking peaceful resoluteness through suicide, then please follow the suicide prevention tips.

 Be Attentive To Unusual Behavior 

While dealing with a suicidal friend, colleague or family member, you are sure to come across some unusual behavioral patterns. Some of them are:

#1. Poor performance in school, work, or other activities

#2. Social isolation

#3.Disinterest in sex, friends, or any other social activities

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#4. Carelessness towards personal hygiene

#5. Alterations in sleeping or eating habits

#6. Prominent changes in the daily routines

#7. Indulgence in lethargy and withdrawal

Create A Comfortable Environment 

A suicidal friend has reached this stage of his or her life because they could not find someone to discuss their problems with. They must have been through a tragic failure, a loss of family member or maybe a heartbreaking breakup; whatever be the reason, they suffered tremendously because of it. You need to be the shoulder on which they can cry and breakthrough their web of guilt, shame, and sufferings. Try to give them a comfortable environment wherein they feel free to open their hearts out to you. Talking is one of the best ways to prevent suicide.  

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Avoid The Word ‘Suicide’ 

While talking to a friend with suicidal tendencies, make it a point to never bring the term suicide throughout the conversations. You can always have light-hearted conversations especially related to things that they like to talk about. 

Bring Up Interesting Conversational Starters

You can always talk to them about movies, sports, television shows, or any recent social events. If they are interested in automobiles or just watching comedy shows, you can always take them out to spend the day. Some conversation starters can be:

#1. Did you watch the match last night?

#2. Do you want to hang out tonight?

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#3. Let's check that new restaurant tonight.

#4. What do you think about the new show?

Be sure that the conversations are interesting and far from depressing and sad. a lively conversation is sure to lighten up their mood, and you never know they might just share their problems with you. 

Do Not Judge Them 

A suicidal friend may have his or her own reasons for considering suicide. Try to listen and understand their point of views. Do not ever try to judge them for you think the reasons are lame or your friend is just a coward. People with suicidal tendencies are already suffering from shame, and self-hatred, do not give them any more such reasons.

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(Image Courtesy: The Telegraph)

Do Not Pass Hurtful Statements

When you talk to a friend with suicidal tendencies, be careful about what you say. Such people get extra sensitive towards judgments and comments. Just remember that you are trying to help a suicidal friend and not provoking them to jump off the cliff right there and then.

You can encourage and motivate them to look at the larger picture and be positive about what’s next. Statements like ‘you have so much to live for ’or‘ think about how your suicide will hurt your family and friends can work as a suicide prevention tool.

Listen To Them 

When you are trying to help a suicidal friend, make sure you hear them well. Listen to what they have to say about their life, their sufferings, and their mental state. Make eye contacts and use a body language which is non-judgmental and welcoming. Let them talk for as long as they want. Give them enough time and space to express themselves.

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Suicide Prevention Tips 

Committing suicide is often said to be a sign of cowardliness or a means of escapism. A person with suicidal tendencies might have already suffered immensely to come down to killing themselves. As a friend who wants to help them to come out of their world of suffering and miseries, you need to tell them that you care and that they're not alone.

#1. Emotional support works as a great suicide prevention method. Let your friend know that they are loved and thought about, and they do hold importance for some people. Try to project your love and respect for them through your conversations.

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(Image Courtesy: BPS Occupation)

#2. For a person who believes that his or her existence does not bother even a single soul on the planet needs to be loved enormously. Showering love and attention can heal their wounds better than any other psychiatric support or medications.  

#3. Tell them that suicide is just a permanent solution to problems that can be solved with alternative methods. Suggest them some feasible options if possible.  

#4. Remind them of their families who would be devastated by their decisions and actions that involve committing suicide.  

#5. Browse through the internet to gather all the relevant information about suicidal tendencies. You can also connect with organizations that work with suicidal people. Try getting in touch with them to get to the roots of the problems. They may even be helpful in providing you with some effective solutions. 

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(Image Courtesy: Hopkins)

#6. Get rid of all the pieces of equipment that can aid your friend in committing suicide. Things like anti-depressant pills, or a revolver or any other nonprescribed medicines should be disposed off.

#7. Tell your friend that you are always with them whenever they need to talk. You can create diversions whenever they have an urge to kill themselves. Do not leave them alone in the needy hours. Stay with them to support and talk.

While trying to help a suicidal friend it is important that you stay strong. It may be emotionally traumatizing to look at a close one suffering so badly, but you need to stay their undeterred. Your strength and motivation can help in preventing your friend from committing suicide. Stay Strong! 

Do you think that a suicidal tendency is usually caused due to depression? Let us know in the comment section below.  

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When you come across someone with a suicidal tendency, you know for sure that the person is emotionally disturbed. Then why would you want to prevent them from committing suicide? The article above talks about the prevention tips and the methods by which you can prevent your friend from committing suicide, but why would you prevent it?
Well, I didn’t mean to sound insensitive but suicide is the worst decision one can ever make in their life. Jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge might help you in getting rid of all your problems but do you think that those problems were worth enough of your life?
It took your mother nine months of struggle to bring you to this planet. She nurtured you with love and care to make you a beautiful soul, and is this how you wish to thank her?
Suicide should be prevented because the urge to die is very fluid. You decide on suicide because you cannot figure out any other means to solve your problems, not because you really hate your life. Most people who get saved from suicide and are now alive are glad that they did not die.
Secondly, suicide is an irrational decision because studies suggest that in most of the suicidal cases, the deceased was found to be suffering from a mental illness. A rational mind would never think of taking such decisions. Repeated failures or disappointments might disturb you mentally, and incline you towards suicide. All you need to do is to calm your mind and think about some feasible solutions.
And in case mental illness is not the reason for suicidal tendencies, the person surely is suffering from substance abuse, sleep deprivation or a trauma. They should try to find help and get rid of their deadly obsessions.

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